Zuma has committed to set up a commission of inquiry into state capture

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma reacts during the launch of a social housing project in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.
Jacob Zuma South Africa's President Jacob Zuma reacts during the launch of a social housing project in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.
Image: REUTERS/Rogan Ward

President Jacob Zuma has committed to set up a commission of inquiry into state capture within 30 days if former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s State of Capture report is set aside.

In responding papers filed to the North Gauteng High Court‚ Zuma’s lawyers argue that Madonsela’s entire report should be set aside.

“Having announced an intention to appoint a commission of inquiry‚ it is recorded that the President will proclaim a commission of inquiry within thirty days of the date of this order‚” the papers read.

Zuma wants the High Court to set aside Madonsela’s report that recommends that a commission of inquiry be set up to investigate state capture‚ headed by a judge chosen by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng.

Zuma initially told the court this week that Madonsela was outsourcing her function to the judiciary and that the new Public Protector‚ Busisiwe Mkhwebane‚ must continue the state capture investigation.

But last week‚ Zuma’s advocate‚ Ishmael Semenya‚ said Zuma did not want the court to rule that the report be sent back to the Public Protector for further investigation.

Zuma wants the court to remit the investigation into his alleged violations of the Code of Ethics in relations to State Capture back to the Public Protector.

Effectively‚ Zuma wants the court to set aside Madonsela’s report on the premise that Zuma will institute his own commission of inquiry in good faith.

The DA has vehemently opposed this‚ telling the court that Zuma does not want to investigate state capture unless he has full control of the investigation and can set out the terms of reference.

“This reveals that the President’s purpose in bringing this application is to ensure that the (issues) raised in the Public Protector’s Report‚ which implicate him‚ ‘his friends’ and his family are not investigated at all — unless he gets to pick both the person to do the investigating and the terms of reference for the investigation.”

The DA said this was wrong and unconstitutional and wants the court to dismiss Zuma’s application and order him to institute Madonsela’s remedial action.

“This is despite the patent conflict of interest and lack of perceived independence that would be involved.”

The EFF‚ represented by Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi‚ argued to the court that Zuma was so implicated in state capture that he could not have a hand in the appointment of the inquiry that will investigate him.

The opposition also want Zuma to be personally liable for the costs of this application but he has opposed this‚ calling it “misplaced”.

Judge President Dunstan Mlambo is yet to make a judgment on the matter.

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